American Airlines passenger service agents have voted to be represented by a coalition of the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
AA’s agents, who staff the gates and counters at airports and handle reservations, had voted down the CWA in 2013, prior to the Dec. 9 merger of US Airways and American.
Click here to read more at The Dallas Morning News.Issues: Airlines
From the Chicago IWW
Freshii Workers’ Union members and supporters staged a picket on Monday to demand an end to abuses by Freshii franchise owner Peter Irie.
The assembled group demanded that Irie re-hire illegally fired workers, cease union-busting tactics and attacks on union supporters, and officially recognize the Freshii Workers’ Union (FWU).
“Peter thinks that he can continue to abuse and disrespect his workers with no repercussions,” former Freshii employee Heather Sprigler said.
With Sprigler’s help, the FWU recently won back nearly $2,000 in unpaid back wages for store employees. Sprigler was subsequently fired for concerted activity. Irie officially cited Sprigler’s role in the campaign to recover unpaid wages as a reason for her termination.
Voting ends today for American Airlines passenger service agents deciding whether to unionize, with results tomorrow. The vote is a result of the merger between American and US Airways, which created the largest airline in the world—and the largest union representation election in the U.S. this year.
The agents handle reservations, check in passengers and baggage, and staff airline gates. A third of them—the 5,500 US Airways agents—are already members of the Communications Workers (CWA). The 9,000 American agents have tried several times to unionize, losing their 2013 election by a heartbreaking 150 votes.
Click here to read more at Labor Notes.Issues: Airlines
September 13, 2014: Yesterday the Laredo Texas Con-way terminal workers voted to join Teamsters Local 657, in a first-ever organizing win at the giant LTL carrier. Los Angeles Joint Council 42 just filed with the NLRB for organizing votes at three Con-way terminals in Los Angeles, Santa Fe Springs and San Fernando.
Is this the start of movement to organize in freight and trucking? We hope so! It’s certainly a good first step, and should spread.
Other locals are organizing at Con-way, and also among FedEx Freight workers. A conference call of locals was held two weeks ago and other one is coming up soon, to compare notes on freight organizing.
The Laredo vote among 113 drivers and dock workers at the busy terminal on the international border was 55-49 for Local 657. Los Angeles Local 63 and other locals in the initial stages of freight organizing have also taken local initiative.
The International union organizing department has so far not been involved. Freight and trucking have not been priority areas for the Hoffa administration. In fact, the Hoffa administration poured cold water on a drive at Con-way in Ohio, begun by local unions over a year ago.
Locals are taking initiative. The International union has the big resources to help coordinate this movement and drive it to victory.Issues: Freight
September 12, 2014: The labor movement is joining up with the biggest mobilization against climate change in history.
World leaders will converge on New York City later this month for a United Nations climate summit.
Unions are converging on New York City too. The Teamsters are joining forces with unions, environmental groups, students, and over 100 social and economic justice organizations for the biggest climate change march in history on Sunday, Sept. 21.
The purpose of the march is to demand that countries at the UN summit take action to reduce global warming pollution and create good union jobs as part of a more sustainable economy.
TDU members are mobilizing Teamsters to join the march too. Hear from them on why their marching:
“Come join us on Sunday, September 21! I’ll be there with Local 805 members. The same corporations destroying our jobs and unions are destroying our communities and our planet with air pollution, poisons in our water, greenhouse gases and much more. They are doing anything they want to make a profit and it’s going to take all of us to stop it! We must demand that our elected officials get their collective heads out of the sand and take some serious actions to stop this destruction.”
Sandy Pope, Local 805 President, New York City
“Climate change is real—it’s happening and it’s going to affect all of us, including workers and the union movement. As labor, we’ve got to make our voices heard on this and other social issues. We’re all in this together.”
Thanddnes Palmer, UPS, Local 804, New York City
“Hurricane Sandy showed what can happen if we don't do something about climate change. Local 814 members got involved in the relief effort. Now it's time for union members to take a stand against climate change and for labor to make sure that green jobs are decent-paying and safe.”
Walter Taylor, Local 814, New York CityIssues: Labor Movement
America's largest parcel delivery company United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS) earns the lion's share of its total revenue from domestic operations. Now, the company's keen on widening its international reach, particularly in the emerging markets. With rising per capita income leading to higher discretionary spending among the middle-class population, emerging economies are offering huge growth potential to courier companies. Over the last decade, UPS has tried to make its presence felt in China, Poland, and Turkey.
UPS has been in China for more than two decades, gradually expanding its operations, but in 2009, after China put restrictions on foreign courier companies asking for license renewals, expansion came to a standstill. Good news is that the nation has issued licenses allowing foreign courier companies to expand operations regionally. As prospects in the Mainland are encouraging, can the Atlanta-based giant capitalize on the same, and contest home-grown companies that have become stronger during this period?
Click here to read more at Seeking Alpha.Issues: UPS
Teamsters union organizing efforts are advancing at FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight, the two largest nonunion less-than-truckload carriers, according to National Labor Relations Board records.
At Con-Way, Local 657 led the effort for a representation election supervised by the National Labor Relartions Board that has been set for Sept. 12 in Laredo, Texas, according to NLRB officials.
Click here to read more.Issues: Labor MovementFreight
September 11, 2014: Rail workers have shouted a loud “No” to single-person train crews. The contract rejection was delivered by conductors who work for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), who are members of SMART (Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers union).
“Rail workers told the BNSF railway, their union leaders and fellow rail workers that they will not support single-person crews,” said Ron Kaminkow, an engineer for Amtrak and member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLET) affiliated with the Teamsters.
Kaminkow is an activist in Railroad Workers United (RWU), a network of rail workers in various unions, including the Teamsters. RWU seeks to build solidarity and break down petty rivalries fostered by certain union officials.
RWU noted that the SMART top officials negotiated the deal in secret, then tried to sell it with smoke and mirrors and a “signing bonus.”
“The surprise attack, coming from the union, on the 2 person train crew, lit a fire under the rank and file like I have never seen in my 13 years of railroading” said JP Wright of BLET IBT 740 and Co-Chair of RWU.
RWU’s press release notes that the contract rejection is “a decisive victory, not just for the trainmen and engineers on the BNSF, but for every railroad worker in North America.”
It is especially important for the 33,000 rail engineers of the BLET-IBT. These Teamsters would be under the gun to accept single-person operating crews, if the second-largest rail line in North America had won that concession.
RWU was instrumental in coordinating the opposition to the contract among trainmen and engineers, with conference calls on strategy, leaflets, stickers, rallies and media coverage.
Kaminkow said the priority now is to build on the solidarity that powered this win. The RWU statement calls this “the opening shot in a protracted war” to preserve union jobs and public safety on North America’s rail lines.
Click here to read the Railroad Workers United press statement for more information.Issues: Rail
September 11, 2014: It’s time to make a worker’s right to speak out for unions, without employer retaliation, a civil right. Two members of Congress have introduced the Employee Empowerment Act, to give the right to organize protections found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
You can learn more and sign a petition of support.
The bill has little chance of passing at present, but is an important part of building a movement to defend workers’ rights and revitalize the labor movement.
Now is the time. Recently we have seen workers at Walmart and other anti-union giants start to stand up, but face firing with little protection. Present NLRB protections are slow and inadequate, so many employers routinely violate them.
Corporate spokespersons claim that unions are in decline because workers don’t need them anymore. But in other countries, such as Canada or Germany, the picture is very different, because workers have more legal protections.
The labor and civil rights movements have always had a lot in common. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it should be remembered, was gunned down in Memphis in 1968, where he was supporting striking black sanitation workers who marched carrying posters with the message “I Am a Man.”
As Dr. King stated to the 1961 AFL-CIO convention referring to the labor and civil rights movements, “Together, we can be the architects of democracy.” Workers deserve legal protections to allow that to happen.Issues: Labor Movement
For years, the American labor movement has been on the defensive as it has become harder and harder for workers to join or maintain a union. But some House Democrats are planning a dramatic counter-offensive: a bill that would make union organizing a civil right.
Representatives Keith Ellison and John Lewis plan to introduce a bill Wednesday that would make labor organizing a basic freedom no different than freedom from racial discrimination. That sounds like a nice talking point—but this isn’t just another messaging bill.
Click here to read more at The Nation.Issues: Labor Movement
Below is an announcement from the IWW Greece regarding the events and the march planned for the memory of the one year of the murder of the P. Fyssas, an antifascist worker and artist by the members of Golden Dawn (the Greek Neo Nazi party).
Fascism is the unholy alliance of capitalism
Sept. 18, 2014 will mark one year since the murder of Pavlos Fyssas by thugs of the Golden Dawn. Under no circumstances should we forget this sacrifice, first because it is political assassination and secondly, because the cowardly assassination was primarily an effort of the political underworld to hit critical humanism and social consciousness.
The battle against fascism can give it successfully only united antifascist action and coordination within each neighborhood and workplace. The class struggle against the fascists, is inseparable from the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism and social emancipation.
By the IWW Freshii Workers Union
Last month, Freshii workers at 200 w Randolph in Chicago marched on their boss to demand the return of nearly $2,000 in stolen wages and union recognition. Of the two demands, the stolen wages were returned to the workers. While the fight for union recognition continues, Heather Sprigler has been illegally fired in retaliation for her role in the organizing efforts. Last week, Alison Olhava fell ill and her boss, Peter Irie, cut her hours from a normal 35 a week to a dismal 8. Peter has refused to meet with Alison and her IWW representatives to discuss this change in scheduling.
Forty years ago this week, bell-bottom jeans were still in style, the Vietnam War was coming to a close, and Watergate was still riveting the nation.
Against this backdrop of social unrest, there was also a focus on broken pension promises. Back then, tens of thousands of people were losing their pensions because few laws existed to regulate pension plans. A worker could lose his pension after working at the same company for 25 years because he left the company before turning 65. Employers could fritter away pension money on bad investments or bogus transactions often without facing any consequences. Bankrupt plans could leave workers and retirees with only a fraction of the benefits they earned and no recourse against their employer. In response, Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA, to put an end to such abusive practices.
Click here to read more at the Pension Rights Center.Issues: Labor Movement
IWW member Chris "Max" Perkins has been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. An experienced journeyman carpenter (and apprentice plumber & electrician), Max now takes chemotherapy. He is disabled from working due to symptoms and side effects like joint pain, nausea, lethargy and sleeplessness. He has spots on his lung and recently underwent a brain scan. Max's very small income means he urgently needs support with housing costs. His friends in the Boston GMB appeal to all Wobs who can contribute any funds to please consider supporting Max in a difficult time.
The IWW Survey & Research Committee (part of the Organizing Department Board) has just launched our 2014 member survey. We hope you can take 5-10 minutes of your time to complete this survey, and to share it with as many of your fellow workers as possible. Paper copies are also available upon request. The survey can be found at: http://bit.ly/Yg2SwA
The information you share with us will be vital in moving forward with organizing efforts around the world. This year, we are especially focused on understanding where fellow workers are organizing, as well as past efforts and future goals. The more comprehensive this survey is (i.e. the more people who respond!) the better we will be able to plan strategically and provide necessary trainings and resources. If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback about the survey, or are otherwise interested in the work of the SRC, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thousands of workers marched in the 35th Annual Labor Day Parade in Wilmington, CA on September 1st. CBS-LA was at the event and broadcast the following report on the parade. It includes an interview with Local 13 President Bobby Olvera, Jr.
WILMINGTON (CBSLA.com) — A huge crowd gathered for the 35th annual Labor Day Parade in Wilmington Monday.
Thousands of union members and their families and friends marched to Banning Park, 1331 Eubank Avenue, where a rally and barbecue was held at noon.
The event featured speakers, music and food.
Many came for the festivities and fun but organizers said there was a serious message behind the get-together, whose theme was “Stop the War on Workers.”
“The working people are in a much worse place today than we have been in decades,” Los Angeles County labor movement official Maria Elena Durazo said. “So the level of poverty is deeper. The number of people in the middle class is much, much smaller.”
But with declining membership and strong opposition to new labor laws, union leaders said they’re picking their battles carefully. They’re currently focusing on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“I think the minimum wage most definitely needs to be raised and I think that corporations need to take a vested interest in the health of their workers and their families,” ILWU Local 13 member Bobby Olvera, Jr. said.
September 4, 2014: Fast Food workers are walking off the job in 150 cities today to win a living wage of $15 an hour and the right to be union members. TDU stands with them!
The walkouts are the latest in a series of coordinated strikes that began in November 2012. Today marks the first time that the actions include nonviolent civil disobedience.
Police arrested at least 19 people outside of a McDonald’s in New York City.
In Detroit, demonstrators blocked traffic at another McDonalds.
The average pay for a food prep and service worker is $8.74 an hour, or about $18,000 a year. That's roughly $5,000 lower than the Census Bureau's poverty threshold level of $23,000 for a family of four.
Today’s protests come more than a month after the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel ruled that McDonald's is a joint employer that exerts substantial power over working conditions at its franchisees.
The ruling, if upheld, means McDonald's could be held liable for labor violations at its more than 12,000 franchisee-owned restaurants.
Click here for more information.Issues: Labor Movement
- Baltimore Jimmy John’s Workers Announce IWW Membership
- Portland Canvass Workers Walk Off The Job, Demand Unpaid Wages
- Work People’s College Europe: A Huge Success
- Fighting Patriarchy In The One Big Union
- Review: Case Studies Of Worker Self-Organization
- John Reed’s First Labor Love: The IWW
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